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By Allison Lewis

RISMEDIA, April 25, 2008-When was the last time you called your own office? How were the phones answered? Was the administrator patient and helpful? Were you put on hold and for how long? Did they use slang words or bad language? Were they eating or drinking? Were they able to proficiently transfer your call or take an accurate phone message? Were they able to answer basic questions about your organization? Did they listen to you?

You’d be surprised to know that this person, whom you trust to greet your contacts in a professional manner, is oftentimes the initial (and only) point of contact a recruiting prospect or customer gets from your company. It is this first line of contact that may determine if a caller cares to go further to explore your organization for employment or to buy and sell.

“It’s a great day at COMPANY X,” droned out by a bored or distracted administrator definitely has a negative impact on the person on the other end of the phone. Would you want to list your home with a company where the staff sounded like this? Would you want to work there?

Despite the fact that more recruits are searching for career opportunities over the Internet, they will eventually call your office. And many still use the phone regularly in an effort to speak to a “real live person.” Your administrator not only answers the phone, but they also field questions about your company. Their knowledge is often very appreciated by the caller and often is the determining factor in whether or not that person wants to use your real estate services or pursue a career opportunity with your company.

As you develop a true recruiting culture within your organization, administrators can play an important role in the success of your growth. Be open with them about why it is critical to always make a positive first impression and about the need to always be friendly and helpful. Empower them with this responsibility and reward them for a job well done. After all, they are helping to sell the vision of your company to the community. Your company’s reputation has a direct effect on your ability to attract and retain sales talent as well as your overall profitability. Your company’s talent also includes your experienced administrators and other staff people.

Allow them to take a test drive on the Real Estate Simulator, AlignMark’s assessment tool that uses simulation technology to recreate the real-life challenges that real estate agents encounter on a daily basis. Yes, it is that experience that will make it easier for them to play an effective role in your overall recruiting strategy. When you hold an office meeting to launch the Simulator at your company – include your administrators and other staff. Educate your entire staff about the Simulator is, why you are using it and how it will benefit the company’s growth. Encourage them to complete the assessment themselves so they have first-hand experience and can relate that experience to candidates in person and over the phone.

You might not want administrators to handle questions around commission splits or marketing fees, but they can refer people to the career section of your website and to your great new assessment and recruiting tool. They can encourage prospects to take it – because they’ve experienced it for themselves. Make sure all your administrators are familiar with the career section of your website and where you have placed your Real Estate Simulator banners.

Make it fun for everyone and run a competition. Offer a gift certificate to the administrator who sees the highest conversion rate from phone call to completed assessment. Ask them to keep track of who they speak to over the phone. Have your recruiter follow up with these candidates and encourage them to complete the assessment as the first step in your company’s affiliation and interview process.

Encouragement from you for your front line to project a more professional image over the telephone could further motivate administrative staff to work on future goals. And who knows? You might recognize a budding real estate agent sitting out front, with real potential to add to your company’s bottom-line.

Allison Lewis is an Account Executive with AlignMark Inc.

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